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Guide to Starting and Expanding a Business


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Guide to Starting and Expanding a Business

  1. 1. INTRODUCTION This “Guide to Starting & Expanding a Small Business in Hants County” is a resource book for local entrepreneurs. It details many of the typical opportunities and obstacles you may experience while operating a small business. This guide was developed with the help of a panel of small business people from throughout the county, and it will be regularly improved thanks to feedback from readers. Throughout these pages, we will suggest that you consult with professional lawyers, accountants, bankers, and municipal planners. We will also refer you to local business support agencies. While a document like this simply cannot fully address your unique business case, it outlines many of the resources available to small business people in Hants County. We have attempted to provide an introduction to areas every entrepreneur should address. Lists of local contacts have been included at the back of the document so that you can quickly get the answers you need. You can find more contact information in our online business directory at This document will be updated annually to ensure its accuracy. To be certain you have the most recent edition, visit us online ( or at our offices in Windsor or Elmsdale. Good luck as you embark on your business journey! The Hants Regional Development Authority 2
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction……………………………………………………………….. 2 Planning…………………………………………………………………… 4 Registration and Regulations………………………………………………5 Ownership and Name Registration, Industry Specific Regulations, Zoning, Building Permits & Other Approvals, Business Occupancy Tax, Income Taxes & HST, Protection of Privacy, Signage. Human Resources..........................................................................................9 Hiring vs. Contracting Out, Employer Duties, Recruitment, Training, Wage Support. Finances…………………………………………………………………....11 Equity Financing, Debt Financing, Banking, Accounting & Bookkeeping. Marketing & Promotion.………………………………………………….17 Market Research, Target Market, Product/Service, Price, Sales & Distribution, Promotion, Advice & Support. Networking………………………………..................................................20 Chambers of Commerce and Business Associations. Contacts…………………..………………………………………………..21 About the Hants RDA…………………………………………………….23 3
  3. 3. BUSINESS PLANNING A formal business plan can be helpful to The following organizations serve Hants you in many ways, but sometimes County and can help with your planning thorough organization is all you need to (contact information is provided on pages run a small business. Many hobby- 21 and 22): businesses (like part-time craft production) and professional services (like small law COUNSELLING WORKBOOK TEMPLATE / RESEARCH firms, doctor offices, and dental clinics) AGENCY / SUPPORT operate without formal “business plans”. ORG. However, written business plans are helpful in many ways. A business plan: Acadia Centre • Organizes your ideas so you can for Small communicate them to others, Business and • Forces you to think through your Entrepreneurship business idea, Atlantic Canada • Assists you in obtaining financing (a plan Opportunities is often required for financing), Agency CBDC Hants- • Helps you evaluate the risks involved, Kings • Provides a roadmap so you can progress logically and not fall off-track. FutureWorx Job Search Centre • Increases chances of business success once established, Hants Regional • Helps you consider expansion options. Dev. Auth. Job Resource Business plans are prepared for different Centre purposes and, therefore, different readers with different interests. If you are hoping Local Banks to arrange financing with a certain lender, get information before you prepare your You may also need to consult a lawyer and business plan about whether a particular an accountant for support with particular business plan format or outline is elements of your planning process. preferred. This may save you the work of Overall, however, you will be the one reorganizing your business information for writing your own business plan with presentation later. advice from a variety of sources. 4
  4. 4. REGISTRATION & REGULATIONS Because of the expenses involved, most Ownership and Name professionals advise small business people Registration against incorporation if it is not necessary. Business status can always be changed: a There are various ways to set up a business rapidly growing small business may decide in Nova Scotia. The most common forms to incorporate as part of an expansion. A are sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation is an independent entity limited company (corporation), and controlled by shareholder investors. cooperative. Each business form has Shareholders are not personally liable for advantages and disadvantages. the debts of the company (although corporate directors and officers do have A sole proprietorship is a business that is some risk exposure). The incorporation owned and operated by one person. As process requires the support of a lawyer. sole owner of the business, the proprietor is personally liable for business contracts A co-operative business is owned by and is responsible for any wrongs members who make use of its services. Co- committed by her/his employees (in the ops often market or purchase products for course of their employment). A their members. The law treats co-op proprietorship can operate under the members like corporate shareholders. entrepreneur’s name without registering a However, “profits” are returned to business name at the Nova Scotia Registry members through the cheaper products or of Joint Stock Companies. But, if any services provided by the co-op. The Nova change is made to the name (such as Scotia Cooperative Council (see pg 22) adding “and daughter/son” or “and provides support to those considering the associates”) you must register it. cooperative business model. Formal or informal, a partnership is a The Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stock legally binding business relationship in Companies (see pg 22) manages name which each partner takes responsibility registration in the province. The business and becomes liable for the actions of the name you select cannot already be in use other partner(s). This includes actions that by another company, nor may it be so may be taken without a partner’s close to the name of another company so knowledge. A partnership must legally as to cause confusion. The Government of register its name, and a formal partnership Nova Scotia and the Canada Revenue agreement is highly recommended. Each Agency now provide all-in-one partner may wish to solicit independent registration for a number of business legal advice. registrations and permits through an online system located at 5
  5. 5. Industry-specific safety and compatibility with adjacent Regulations land uses. Consult your municipal development officer early in your business There may be additional registrations and planning process to ensure that your permits required for your specific type of proposed business is permitting in the business. Many businesses require zone. Contact your municipality to ensure additional permits, such as restaurants, that you have the proper information: video outlets and hairstylists. Hantport: Jeff Lawrence (pg 21); The Government of Nova Scotia offers a Windsor: Doug MacInnis (pg 22); “Permits Directory” containing West Hants: Doug MacInnis (pg 22); information on 485 licenses, permits, East Hants: Ian Young (pg 21). registrations, certifications and related services administered by provincial Asking for a zoning confirmation letter is departments and agencies. See highly recommended. This letter will outline the zone requirements for your business proposal. If your business activity As well, guides to starting specific types of is not permitted in your zone, rezoning or businesses are available through Canada- a development agreement may be possible. Nova Scotia Business Service Centres (see An application for rezoning or a Job Resource Centre and FutureWorx Job development agreement can be made to Search Centre, pg. 21-22), 1-800-668-1010, your municipal council. The rezoning or or development agreement process requires a public hearing and is subject to provincially-defined advertising timelines. Zoning Building Permits and Other Municipal bylaws define land use zones to control where different types of residential Approvals buildings and business activities can be located. Land use bylaws list the types of If you are constructing or renovating a businesses permitted in each zone. They building you will require a building also define the types of home-based permit. Contact your municipality. businesses that are permitted in your Your driveway may need to meet the municipality. Land use bylaws regulate the Dept. of Transportation’s commercial business activity in each zone with rules requirements. Contact your about the type of activity, size of building, municipality. proximity to the street, parking, number of If your property is not serviced by employees, amount of traffic and size and municipal water and sewer you should type of outdoor sign(s). These regulations contact the Dept. of the Environment are intended to address issues of public for well and septic approvals. 6
  6. 6. Business Occupancy Tax In order to be assessed for business Businesses operating in Nova Scotia must occupancy tax, every person starting a pay business occupancy tax to the town or business (even after temporary suspension) municipality in which they are located. should advise their Regional Director of This tax is in addition to any commercial Assessment in writing within one week of property taxes, so businesses that operate beginning operations. This notification can from rented premises must also pay be provided online at business occupancy tax. ment/boform.asp, by phone, or in person. The occupancy tax you owe is calculated by multiplying the municipal commercial • The Western Region Assessment Office tax rate by the business occupancy value (Kentville) serves Hantsport, Windsor (25, 50, or 75% of the real property and West Hants (pg 22). assessment) for your premises. Seasonal • The Northern Region Assessment Office tourism operators are eligible to apply for a (Truro) serves East Hants (pg 22). reduced rate (see mr/asmt/ps/business/). The entire business You must notify the Regional Director of occupancy tax will be eliminated by 2013, Assessment within 30 days of vacating a based on the following schedule: business premises to qualify for a rebate on your business occupancy tax. Value Businesses Phase-out Income Taxes and the Hotels, motels, Harmonized Sales Tax restaurants, 25% campgrounds, service 2006 stations, and motor A sole proprietorship pays taxes by vehicle dealerships. reporting income (or loss) on the owner’s Financial institutions personal income tax return (Form T1). The such as banks, trust form “Statement of Business Activities” is companies, insurance completed and attached to your personal 75% 2013 companies, credit unions, tax return. In a partnership, each partner loan or investment companies. includes a share of the partnership income (or loss) on her/his/its income tax return. Value Quarterly installments may be required. All other businesses (eg. Category Otherwise, consider putting cash aside to Retail outlets, 2005 – 50% professional offices and cover income taxes each spring. Sole 2006 – 40% 50% services, manufacturing, proprietors and partners do not pay into 2007 – 30% home-based businesses, 2008 – 20% Employment Insurance, but do make and spaces licensed under 2009 – 10% Canada Pension Plan contributions. the Liquor Control Act). 2010 – 0% Corporations and cooperatives file their 7
  7. 7. own income tax returns (Form T2) within customer information) under the federal six months of the end of every corporate Personal Information Protection and fiscal year. Corporate income tax is paid in Electronic Documents Act. PIPEDA monthly installments. applies to all personal information that an organization collects, uses or discloses in If you expect to have revenues of more the course of commercial activity. You than $30,000 per twelve-month-period, will need to ensure that your business you must collect the harmonized sales tax carefully protects personal privacy. on all sales. You will remit the difference between the HST you collect on sales and You must obtain an individual’s the HST you pay on goods and services to permission to collect her/his personal run the business. If your revenues will be information. The individual has a right to less than $30,000 in 12 months, you might access this information and to challenge its still decide to collect HST to appear more accuracy. The information can only be credible or to receive a “reimbursement”. used for the purposes for which it was collected. If you plan to use it for another Regardless of your ownership type and purpose you must obtain consent again. level of income, an accountant is your best Individuals should also be assured that source for taxation information and their information will be protected by advice. The Canada Revenue Agency also specific safeguards, including measures publishes useful online guides to taxation such as locked cabinets, computer (see passwords or encryption. For taxation purposes you need to register The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of with the Canada Revenue Agency and be Canada provides a PIPEDA e-kit for issued a business number (which also business online at forms part of your HST number). This registration is covered at http://www.busi (see Ownership and Signage Name Registration, pg 5) or you can access the necessary paperwork directly from Many entrepreneurs do not know that CRA (pg 21). Micro-enterprises (which do business signs are regulated under not have employees and whose sales will municipal land use bylaws (see Zoning, pg be under $30,000 per year) are not 6). A permit is required to erect, hang, or required to register with CRA. otherwise post a sign outside your place of business. A small permit fee may apply. Protection of Privacy Sign permits are not required in unplanned/unzoned areas of East Hants. Businesses of all sizes are required to Refer to the contacts provided under the protect personal information (particularly Zoning section of this chapter. 8
  8. 8. HUMAN RESOURCES Hiring vs. Contracting Out • Adhering to human rights legislation • Adhering to labour standards (wage Many small businesses successfully operate rates, hours of work, time-off, etc.) through the hard work of one person: the sole proprietor. Even those small • Remitting payroll deductions businesses that have employees tend to be • Paying Workers’ Compensation Board very small; most small businesses in premiums Atlantic Canada have fewer than five employees. When the workload in a • Protecting employees’ personal business becomes too large for one person, information or when the owner’s skills do not suit a particular task, extra expertise is required. The Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Labour provides a Many small businesses contract work out “Guide to the Labour Standards Code” and to other small businesses, known legally as a number of factsheets on employment “independent contractors” (such as rights at bookkeeping, sales, computer service, and employmentrights/. The department also technical support). An independent provides information on Occupational contractor works outside of your business, Health and Safety at has a certain degree of control over her/his work activities, has ownership of (or rents) andsafety/. the necessary tools, has a chance of making a profit, and is at risk of loss. An The Workers’ Compensation Board is employee, on the other hand, takes responsible for a provincially administered direction from the employer, uses the insurance program designed to protect employer’s tools, and takes no substantial companies against liability suits for risk in terms of profit or loss. workers’ injuries and to provide fair compensation for those workers who become injured or disabled on the job. Employer Duties Premiums for this program are paid by the employer only, based on industry rates. This distinction between employees and For further information, call 1-800-870- independent contractors is important 3331 or visit because you have a number of legal duties toward your employees. These duties The Sobey School of Business at St. Mary’s include: University has also published an excellent • Keeping proper documentation resource on employer duties: “Building (particularly regarding payroll and taxes) Better Business Through Your 9
  9. 9. Employees.” The document covers employment services to members of employers’ legal duties and provides tips Indian Brook First Nation. The Kingstec and guidelines for staffing strategy, campus of the Nova Scotia Community successful recruitment and hiring, job College (pg 22), along with other colleges design, compensation, progressive and universities in the province, offers discipline, and workplace safety. This student placement and career services guide is available online at upon graduation as well as internship and or co-operative work experience programs. in hard copy from the Hants RDA (pg. 21). Training Recruitment Training your employees is fundamental to The most popular way that small achieving their highest levels of businesses recruit employees is through productivity. Employee training can range “word-of-mouth” and personal networks. from orientation sessions to external To cast the net further afield, many small courses paid by the employer. Private businesses will purchase employment sector training and formal college or advertising in local newspapers like the university programs can be useful, but Hants Journal, the Weekly Press, or the consider shopping around for low-cost Chronicle Herald. Others have tried training offered by government and not- online advertising. Advertising for an for-profits. Many low-cost and free employee is like advertising your products workshops are offered during Small or services: the challenge is to choose Business Week each year (in October). media that will reach your audience. The Nova Scotia Community College has a customized training division (pg 22) that In addition to paid advertising there are can help you develop training programs many no-cost options to attract employees. for groups of new and existing employees. Service Canada offers a free job bank Sometimes this training can be cost-shared located at that is among a number of companies with popular with local job seekers. Many job similar needs (ie. WHMIS). You and/or seekers (and employers) access the job your employees might also be interested in bank and other postings/services at the Job the NSCC’s online course offerings. The Resource Centre in Windsor and Job Resource Centre and FutureWorx Job FutureWorx Job Search Centre in Search Centre (pg 21-22) provide training Elmsdale (pg. 21-22). Hants County Can to job seekers and could work with (pg. 21) provides employment-related employers to fill specific needs. services to persons with disabilities and can also help with your recruitment activities. The Indian Brook Employment & Training Centre (pg. 22) provides 10
  10. 10. Wage Support FINANCES A few wage-support programs are The money to start and operate your currently available to encourage the hiring business will likely be patched together of specific unemployed or underemployed from a number of different sources. Many groups. The following three programs are entrepreneurs take loans from banks and offered by Service Canada (pg 22): other lending institutions to get started or to expand. Some rely entirely on personal Program Purpose and family equity investments. Some Job Creation To help employment common sources of debt and equity Partnership insurance recipients financing are included in the chart on the gain meaningful work following page. experience that increases their chances Here are some basic tips that could help in of successfully finding your search for financing: long-term employment. Targeted To enable employers to • Develop a financing strategy as part of Wage hire individuals (that your business plan: including cash flow Subsidy they would not estimates, an analysis of your break-even otherwise hire) who point, and a plan for repayment of loans. face barriers to • Get advice: from accountants, bankers, employment by offering and personal contacts. temporary wage • Remember that it is common for subsidies. entrepreneurs to underestimate how Summer To provide wage much money is needed, especially for Career subsidies to employers operating the business. Placements to create career-related summer jobs for • Be prepared to walk away from a deal secondary and post- you don’t like. If it’s too expensive, too secondary students, restrictive, or too unwieldy, the option from 15 to 30 years of may not make sense for your business. age. • Do not be deterred from your idea if your first financing application is The Indian Brook Employment & Training refused: shop around. Centre (pg. 22) also has access to wage- subsidized youth employment programs funded by Indian and Northern Affairs The way you finance your business has a Canada. profound effect on its long-term success. Be sure to re-examine your financing plan on a regular basis as your needs change. 11
  11. 11. Equity Financing Small Business Financing Sources “Equity” is the financial contribution Personal Savings made by owners of a company. The Personal Lines of Credit most likely sources of equity Personal Credit Cards financing are you and people you Personal Loans know. However, there may be other Business Credit Cards sources to explore. Retained Earnings Personal Funds Supplier Credit Most lenders require that a business Leasing person invest some personal assets Government Lending into the business. That investment "Love Money" can come from: Private Loans • Selling personal assets Public Equity • Cutting current personal and Angel Investment business expenses in order to make Venture Capital money available 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% • Drawing on savings Percent of Canadian Small Businesses • Using credit cards to get cash (a costly option) Source: Statistics Canada, Survey of Financing of Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses, 2002. • Borrowing against life insurance • Selling holdings or investments should treat these people similar to other • Cashing in bonds or savings plans sources of financing: help them understand your business, explain how • Increasing a house mortgage you plan to use their money, and show • Keeping a job and using a portion of that them a written business plan if you have salary for the business. one. As a group, friends and family make up more than 50 per cent of the loans to “Love Money” home-based businesses. Always get Many entrepreneurs rely on friends and agreements about investments or loans in relatives for at least a portion of their writing to save later misunderstandings. financing, either on a debt or equity basis. Using “love money” can be a tricky Partners proposition. You don’t want to end up You may consider taking on a business losing both your business and your friends partner to bring some extra equity into the or the goodwill of a family member. You company. You may be lucky and find a 12
  12. 12. silent partner who has little interest in the Debt Financing day-to-day operations of the business. However, having a partner that will Debt financing is money you borrow to become a true partial owner/manager of run your business. A lender takes the risk the business is more likely. This can bring that you might not be able to repay the new skills to the company in addition to loan and charges a corresponding interest an equity investment. Always sign a rate. Lenders typically evaluate four partnership agreement if your company factors: will have more than one equity investor. • Character – Are you the kind of person Venture Capitalists & Angel who pays your bills? Are you reliable? Investors Can you run the business? Sometimes seasoned and wealthy • Credit – Do you have a good credit professionals are looking to put their rating? money into promising businesses, hoping • Capacity – Can the business generate to earn a larger return on their investment enough to pay the bank back? than they could find in other investments. • Collateral – Do you have things of value Venture Capitalists are the more which can be used to secure or guarantee aggressive type of investor. They focus on a loan? rapid-growth businesses, and businesses Local lenders include five banks (with that have the potential to “go-public” on many branches), the Hants-Kings the stock market or be bought-out by a Community Business Development Centre bigger company. The GrowthWorks Limited, and the Atlantic Canada Atlantic Venture Fund (pg 21) is a new Opportunities Agency. These last two fund targeted at companies in Atlantic lenders add a fifth “C” to their evaluation. Canada. They consider benefits to the community (ie. job creation) as well as negative Angels are seen as more patient investors. impacts on existing companies. They typically invest in small companies as a way to minimize their taxes or satisfy Bank Financing personal interests. Many angels take an active role in the company’s management Canada Small Business Financing (CSBF) and strategic planning. Bankers, Program accountants, and lawyers may know of these types of investors in the local The Canada Small Business Financing community. The First Angel Network (pg Program seeks to increase the availability 21) aims to connect investors and of loans and capital leases for establishing, entrepreneurs in Atlantic Canada. expanding, modernizing and improving small businesses by encouraging financial institutions and leasing companies to make 13
  13. 13. their services available to small businesses. Hants-Kings Community Under the program, a small business must Business Development apply for a loan or lease to the financial Centre Ltd. institution (bank or credit union) or the participating leasing company of its Established in 1988, CBDC Hants-Kings is choice. If the application is granted, the one of 41 Community Business federal government will guarantee 85 per Development Corporations (CBDCs) cent of the lender’s losses in the event of located throughout rural Atlantic Canada. default. For more information, visit Each CBDC is an autonomous, non-profit organization dedicated to the development Contact a local branch of CIBC, Heritage of small business and job creation in its Credit Union, Royal Bank, Scotiabank, or communities. CBDC Hants-Kings serves Victory Credit Union (see the business Hants County through offices in Windsor directory at for contact and Elmsdale. See page 21 for contact information). information. Small Business Financing Program CBDC Hants-Kings Term Loans Nova Scotia Credit Unions, in partnership CBDC Hants-Kings provides term loans of with the Nova Scotia Office of Economic up to $150,000 at a minimum interest rate Development, provide loans of up to of 8 per cent for viable business projects. $150,000 for small businesses. The Contact CBDC Hants-Kings for more province will guarantee up to 75 per cent information on eligibility criteria. of the loan, with the credit unions being responsible for the remaining 25 per cent. SEED Term Loans The program can cover loans for working capital or lines of credit. All types of SEED loans of up to $20,000 are available business are eligible, except residential and with an interest rate of two per cent (2%) commercial real estate, beverage rooms, above prime for anyone wishing to start a and taverns. Visit a local credit union for new business, as well as for youth under additional information or to apply. 35 years of age to modernize or expand their business ($2000 in free training funds Contact a local branch of Heritage Credit possible for successful applicants). Contact Union or Victory Credit Union (see the CBDC Hants-Kings for more information business directory at for on eligibility criteria. contact information). 14
  14. 14. Women in Business Initiative (WBI) Term cent) for "returning" students to start their Loans own business. Contact CBDC Hants-Kings for more information on eligibility criteria. Female entrepreneurs are eligible for term loans of up to $150,000 at a minimum Canada Youth Business Foundation Loans interest rate of eight per cent (8%). Contact CBDC Hants-Kings for more CYBF lends up to $15,000 for youth information on eligibility criteria. between the ages of 19 and 34. This program includes a mentorship Self-Employment Benefits Program component. Contact CBDC Hants-Kings for more information on eligibility criteria. The Self-Employment Benefits (SEB) program provides income, counselling, and Women in Business - Business training assistance to eligible residents Management Training Allowance interested in starting their own business. Applicants must be currently unemployed. The Business Management Training They must have an active employment Allowance provides financial assistance to insurance (EI) claim, or have been on an female business owners who wish to EI claim in the past three years, or have undertake business management training been on maternity / paternity leave in the in a variety of specific areas. The BMTA past five years. will finance up to 75 per cent (to a maximum of $2,000) of approved training Staff work with the client to assess their costs. Contact CBDC Hants-Kings for more business proposal, develop a business plan, information on eligibility criteria. and provide ongoing professional Atlantic Canada development and counseling support, Opportunities Agency including a comprehensive business development program series, as they develop their business over the course of Business Development Program the program. The first step for interested individuals is to have their eligibility / The Business Development Program (BDP) needs determination completed by a is ACOA’s principal program for providing representative from their local Service direct financial assistance to Atlantic Canada Centre (formerly Canada’s small and medium-sized HRSDC/HRDC/Manpower, see pg. 22). enterprises (SMEs). It helps you to get started, expand, or modernize your Students in Business Loans business by offering access to capital in the form of interest-free, unsecured, repayable The Students in Business program provides contributions. Most sectors are eligible, loans up to $5,000 with no interest (and a except retail/wholesale, real estate, chance at a possible rebate up to 25 per government services, primary industries, 15
  15. 15. and services of a personal or social nature. Eligible expenses include business studies, Accounting & Bookkeeping capital investment, training, marketing, and quality assurance. Assistance is also Your bookkeeping system collects the available to help you bid for and acquire information needed to prepare financial public and private procurement contracts statements, submit tax returns, apply for or to develop an innovative product or loans, and make sound business decisions. service. ACOA is able to support 50 per cent of certain capital costs and 75 per cent You should have no problem learning to of other eligible costs. For information, maintain your bookkeeping system on a visit day-to-day basis. However, you might ancial/business.shtml or contact Brenda contact an accountant, bookkeeping Bradford or Brian Banks (pg. 21). company or experienced friend for assistance getting started. You can also Banking look into taking a short course on bookkeeping. From time to time these are Meet with a banker early in the start-up offered through the NSCC (locally and process, even if you don’t need a bank online), your chamber of commerce, the loan. Your relationship with your business Job Resource Centre, FutureWorx Job banker will be important over the long Search Centre, or CBDC Hants-Kings (see term. At the very least you will want to contacts, pg 21-22). Female entrepreneurs setup a separate bank account for your can make use of the “Business business – to make deposits and write Management Training Allowance” (pg 15) cheques. There are many other ancillary to access accounting training. services provided by banks, including credit card merchant accounts, Many small businesses successfully use debit/Interac machines, and support with paper-based bookkeeping systems. Others import/export transactions. Talk to your now opt for computer software such as bank about the range of services it can Simply Accounting, Inuit QuickBooks, or offer. Consider shopping around for the Microsoft Money. These programs make best interest rates, account fees, service bookkeeping easy, even for entrepreneurs hours, and ancillary services. Also consider with little accounting knowledge. joining your local Chamber of Commerce or the Canadian Federation of If you keep your own financial records, Independent Business to receive the advice of an accountant can still be discounted banking services (see useful (particularly at tax time). See the Networking, pg. 20). business directory on to connect with local accountants and bookkeepers. 16
  16. 16. MARKETING Many people use the terms “marketing” reaches the right consumers while and “advertising” interchangeably. But learning from your competitors’ marketing is a process of researching, weaknesses. strategizing, and planning your target market, product/service, price, distribution Target Market channels, and promotions (advertising). The decisions you make in each of these Understanding the demographics of your areas fit together and are based on market customers (eg. Dual income, no kids, aged research. A marketing plan or strategy is a 30-40) is not enough. You should also key element in any business plan. strive to understand their “psychographics” or, simply stated, “why Market Research they buy”. Consumers are rarely searching for the cheapest solution to their problem. Research need not be an overwhelming Loyalty, prestige, perceived risks, chore. It is important because it helps emotions, personality, values, attitudes, objectively prove whether or not your and culture all play a role in the business can succeed. The Canada-Nova consumers’ decisions. The purchase Scotia Business Service Centre (at the Job process (“how they buy”) should also be Resource Centre and Futureworx Job understood. A purchase can involve Search Centre) and the Hants RDA are information gatherers, influencers, excellent sources for consumer spending decision makers, purchasers and users. data and other market statistics. Try to One person rarely assumes all five of these learn about market size, trends, and roles. A great marketer understands how geography. To understand your to influence all elements of consumer competitors, collect some cheap behaviour. competitive intelligence. (Don’t forget indirect competitors that sell a different Product / Service product/service but one that fills the same need). The Internet is a great resource of Most entrepreneurs know their product or competitive intelligence. If you have the service better than anyone else. Some have opportunity, you can also make a “secret even invented an entirely new product or shopper” visit. Try to understand your service1. But be sure to take the time to competitors’ customers. Critique your translate your product’s many features into competitors’ products and services. Also, take note of their pricing, distribution, and promotion methods. Your market research 1If this is your situation, consider contacting the will help you design a marketing plan that Canada-NS Business Service Centre for information on intellectual property protection (see pg 21). 17
  17. 17. benefit statements. Speaking about “benefits” helps your customers quickly Sales & Distribution understand why your product/service is valuable to them and how it differs from Your sales/distribution plan describes how your competitors’ offerings. Be careful the transaction between you and your when making claims about human health customer will take place. If you sell benefits, though, because these claims are directly to the customer, consider the regulated by the federal government. location, layout, design, accessibility, and general “look and feel” of your retail space Consider the design of your “extended or facility. Alternatively you might sell product” or “extended service”, including: directly to the customer via the Internet, the packaging; customer service direct mail, catalogue order, or other experience; and any warranty, return means. These methods require careful policy, or service guarantee. logistics planning and possibly coordination with a shipping company or Price Canada Post. You might also hire your own sales people or engage an Consumers do not always choose the independent sales agent, wholesalers, lowest price. For example, higher prices retailers and any number of other external (“premium prices”) often reinforce the organizations or individuals. Be careful to idea that a product or service is of high coordinate the supply chain so you meet quality. Also, price-conscious consumers or exceed the customer’s expectations. perceive odd-ending prices to be lower than even-ending ones (this is why many As your business expands, your prices end in .99, .97 and .95 rather than distribution channels may change and you .00, .10 and .90). There are three common may need to begin managing your capacity approaches to setting a price. “Pricing to and customer demand. You might also the market” involves determining directly start looking toward export markets. Nova from your customers (or by observing your Scotia Business Inc. (p 21) can provide competitors) what they are willing to pay. consulting, trade missions, and financial The “cost approach” involves calculating a assistance to help get your product/service per-unit cost (materials + labour + into markets outside Atlantic Canada. overhead per unit) and adding the desired profit. “Break-even pricing” divides total Promotion annual expenses by an estimate of your annual sales volume (in units of product or Any money you spend on promotion time). Try combining all three of these should be aimed at your target market and approaches to make your price decision. should convert into sales. Sometimes a roadside sign is all you needs thanks to a great location (see pg 8 for information on 18
  18. 18. sign permits). Other times, customers are so costly to attract a new customer, do best reached through paid advertising in what you can to encourage repeat business newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and customer loyalty. Be creative about billboards, tradeshows, and other media. rewarding loyalty and keeping in touch Websites are becoming an important with your frequent customers. medium for many businesses. Some small businesses opt for the cheapest advertising Advice and Support rather than the media to which their customers pay attention. The following organizations provide marketing advice and support in Hants Free publicity can often be just as effective County (see pg 21-22 for contacts): as paid promotion. Word of mouth referrals are the best form of promotion in COUNSELLING a small community like ours. Think about RESEARCH / STATISTICS FINANCIAL AGENCY / SUPPORT ADVICE / how you can “WOW!” opinion leaders in ORG. your target market. Understand your customers expectations and exceed them to generate “hype”. Consider throwing a grand opening and other special events. Issue press releases to inform journalists Acadia Centre about your company’s comings and goings: for Small new products, services, employees, Business and anniversaries, and other interesting news. Entrepreneurship And be sure to take advantage of free Atlantic Canada business listings: register your business at Opportunities and submit your Agency opening announcement to the Chronicle Herald’s weekly “Open for Business” CBDC Hants- column ( or fax 902- Kings 426-1158). FutureWorx Job Search Centre For a list of local media outlets, print shops, graphic designers, webpage Hants Regional designers and more, visit the business Dev. Auth. directory at Job Resource Keep track of what works to get the best Centre bang for your buck. Ask new customers Nova Scotia how they heard about you and move your Business Inc. money and effort to the most effective (Export Services) promotional methods. And since it can be 19
  19. 19. Chambers of Commerce A marketing consultant could provide and Business Associations your business with comprehensive advice and support. Many are listed on Chambers of Commerce and Business under “consulting”, but Associations are the most valuable consider getting a referral from a trusted business networking organizations. Hants business acquaintance. Finally, don’t County is home to a number of these forget your customers as a source of groups, including2: marketing advice. Collect feedback to continuously improve the elements of Hantsport and Area Business your marketing strategy. Association (HABA) East Hants Chamber of Commerce Business Breakfast Club: The Corridor NETWORKING West Hants Chamber of Commerce West Hants Women in Business Networking Group Networking is an important activity for Windsor Business Enhancement any entrepreneur. Often your personal Society contacts and professional business advisors are the beginning of your “network”. With Many of these business associations plan your permission, friends, family, bankers, regular networking events that are open to lawyers, accountants and business members and nonmembers. Membership counselors/consultants can spread the in either of the chambers of commerce has word about your business. But networking benefits including discounts on group is more than generating word-of-mouth health benefits. HABA also offers various publicity. Your network can give you member discounts and promotions. From names of other helpful professionals, time to time these groups offer guest potential suppliers, customers, mentors, speakers on topics of interest to their and peers. This is an opportunity to members. Many of these groups also interact with other entrepreneurs who are sponsor and undertake projects that experiencing similar business challenges benefit the community. Volunteering on and to learn from those who may have the board of a business association or local already been there. It is a reciprocal not-for-profit organization is a great way process – you help others expand their to network and give back to the networks and they will help you expand community. yours. 2The most current contact information for these groups can be found under “Business Associations” on 20
  20. 20. CONTACTS Acadia Centre for Small Business and Entrepreneurship First Angel Network Association Acadia University 5162 Duke Street, Suite 402 Willett House, 38 Crowell Drive Halifax, NS B3J 1N7 Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6 (902) 425-5162 (902) 585-1180 Contacts: Brian Lowe and Ross Finlay Executive Director: Chris Pelham Manager of Business Development: Paul Richards Futureworx Job Search Centre East Hants Resource Centre Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency 15 Commerce Court, Suite 110 Enterprise Centre of Hants County Elmsdale, NS B2S 3K5 80 Water Street (902) 883-7010 Windsor, NS B0N 2T0 Manager: Bonnie MacDermott (902) 798-6550 Account Manager: Brenda Bradford GrowthWorks Atlantic Venture Fund Field Account Manager: Brian Banks Purdy's Wharf Tower 1 1959 Upper Water Street, Suite 1401 Canada-Nova Scotia Business Service Centre Halifax, NS B3J 3N2 1-800-668-1010 1-800-251-5331 Local sites: Job Resource Centre and FutureWorx Hants County CAN (Community Access Network) 80 Water Street Canada Revenue Agency Windsor, NS B0N 2T0 1-800-959-5525 (902) 792-1802 New Elmsdale Office (902) 883-2778 CBDC Hants – Kings Executive Director: Michael Little Enterprise Centre of Hants County 80 Water Street, Box 2788 Hantsport, Town of Windsor, NS B0N 2T0 Town Hall, 20 Main Street (902) 798-5717 Hantsport, NS B0P 1P0 Executive Director: Ken Crichton (902) 684-3211 Economic Development Officer: Michael Campbell CAO: Jeff Lawrence BDC Administrative Assistant: Judy Newcomb Director of Recreation & Community Dev.: Sandra Fraser SEB Administrative Assistant: Bonnie Wilcox Hants Regional Development Authority CBDC Hants – Kings Enterprise Centre of Hants County East Hants Resource Centre 80 Water Street, Box 2313 15 Commerce Court, Suite 200-2 Windsor, NS B0N 2T0 Elmsdale, NS B2S 3K5 (902) 798-2284 or 1-877-284-2687 (902) 883-8879 Executive Director: Amy Melmock Economic Development Officer: Karl Jackson Development Officer: Ryan MacNeil East Hants, Municipality of Hants Regional Development Authority 2361 Hwy 2, P.O. Box 190 East Hants Resource Centre Shubenacadie, NS B0N 2H0 15 Commerce Court, Suite 200-1 (902) 758-2299 Elmsdale, NS B2S 3K5 Planning: (902) 758-2715 (902) 883-3338 or 1-877-284-2687 CAO: Ian Glasgow Development Officer: Karen Kittilsen Director of Economic and Business Development: JD MacCulloch Development Officer: Ian Young 21
  21. 21. Indian Brook Employment & Training Centre Service Canada Indian Brook First Nation Truro Office (Maitland, Shubenacadie) Hants County, NS B0N 1W0 60 Lorne Street, Suite 8 (902) 758-3372 Truro, NS B2N 3K3 Contact: Sandy Maloney (902) 893-0016 Job Resource Centre Service Nova Scotia, Assessment Services Enterprise Centre of Hants County Northern Region Assessment Office 80 Water Street 136 Esplanade St Windsor, NS B0N 2T0 Truro, NS B2N 2K3 (902) 798-5627 (902) 893 5800 or 1-800-280-8963 Manager: Kathy McKee-Flaherty Employment Consultant-Business: Rob Frost Service Nova Scotia Assessment Services Western Region Assessment Office Nova Scotia Business Inc. 87 Cornwallis St Enterprise Centre of Hants County Kentville, NS B4N 2E5 80 Water Street, Box 488 (902) 679 6106 or 1-800-280-8979 Windsor, NS B0N 2T0 (902) 798-6961 West Hants, Municipality of the District of Account Executive: Sean Cochrane 76 Morison Drive, P.O. Box 3000 Windsor, NS, B0N 2T0 Nova Scotia Community College, Kingstec Campus (902) 798-8391 236 Belcher Street CAO: Dwight Bennett Kentville, NS B4N 3X3 (902) 678-7341 Windsor, Town of Principal: Don Bureaux Town Hall, King Street Customized Training: Dwayne MacLeod Windsor, NS B0N 2T0 (902) 798-2275 Nova Scotia Cooperative Council Community and Economic Dev. Coord.: VanEssa Roberts 90 Research Drive, Suite 1 Agritech Park, Bible Hill Windsor-West Hants Joint Planning Advisory Cmte. Truro, NS B2N 6C7 76 Morison Drive, (902) 893-8966 Windsor, NS B0N 2T0 (902) 798-6900 Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stock Companies Director of Planning: Lynn Davis 9th Floor, Maritime Centre Development Officer: Doug MacInnis 1505 Barrington Street Halifax, NS, B3J 3K5 Women in Business Initiative 1-800-225-8227 Annapolis Valley Region (Windsor, Hantsport and West Hants) Service Canada 902-790-2766 Windsor Office (Windsor, Hantsport, West Hants) Regional Facilitator: Gordia MacDonald 80 Water Street Windsor, NS B0N 2T0 Women in Business Initiative (902) 798-6518 Eastern Region Manager: Paul Innis (East Hants) 902-223-3715 Service Canada Regional Facilitator: Karen Donnelly Bedford Office (Elmsdale, Enfield, Milford) 1597 Bedford Highway Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia Bedford, NS B4A 1E7 Assessment (Employer) Services (902) 426-7698 5595 Fenwick Street, Suite 109 Halifax, NS 1-877-211-9267 or 1-800-870-3331 22
  22. 22. HANTS REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY WHO WE ARE The Hants RDA is a not-for-profit agency that is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. Since 1997, we've worked with our government, community and business partners in the region to provide leadership in economic and community development. WHAT WE DO The Hants RDA works with business clients and community organizations large and small to find resources and provide planning support. We can help small businesses network, find financing, research and prepare business plans, access professional advice, address training and professional development issues, identify and respond to major challenges, find appropriate facilities, and plan for succession. OUR PARTNERS Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency NS Department of Community Services NS Office of Economic Development The Municipality of East Hants The Municipality of West Hants The Town of Hantsport The Town of Windsor CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT The Hants RDA is an ISO 9001:2000 Registered Organization. We strive for continuous improvement in all that we do. Your feedback will help us improve this document and our other small business services. Written and designed by Ryan MacNeil. 23
  23. 23. . 1-877-284-2687 24